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Baltimore Sailing Club's O'Leary Teams in Action at Bacardi Cup, Miami

2nd March 2019
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23 countries including Ireland will be represented in Biscayne Bay by more than 500 sailors for an event that started out in 1927 as a three-day regatta with less than 10 boats in Cuba. The Star Class will be joined by the J70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and the Flying Tiger 7.5 23 countries including Ireland will be represented in Biscayne Bay by more than 500 sailors for an event that started out in 1927 as a three-day regatta with less than 10 boats in Cuba. The Star Class will be joined by the J70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and the Flying Tiger 7.5 Photo: Tim Wilkes

Two separate O'Leary teams both sailing under the burgee of Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork are in action in Florida next week at the Bacardi Cup in Miami.

Former Irish Sailor of the Year Anthony O'Leary sailing with David Hassett, Niall Rafferty and Tom Durcan will sail in the Viper class while O'Leary's sons Robert and Nicholas, (Robert was a recent bronze medalist in the Star Junior Championships) will compete in the Star Class. The brothers' boat, the aptly named Star 'Brotherly Love' has been based in Miami for a string of regattas this winter. 

Ninety-two years of history is a record that not many sports competitions can match. With the number of teams and the unparalleled talent on the water increasing each year, the Bacardi Cup Regatta is among the world’s most iconic sporting events. For 56 years, this event has had the pleasure of calling the beautiful warm waters of Biscayne Bay its home.

This year, the Organising Committee decided to extend an invitation not only to the Star Class, but also to other one-design fleets, making the 2019 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta the most attended spring sailing event. The J/70 class, the fastest-growing one-design fleet in the world, has been invited for the second year in a row, while the successful long-lived Melges 24 class will make its return to Biscayne Bay along with the high-performance classes represented by the Viper 640 and Flying Tiger 7.5!

Racing gets underway in Biscayne Bay on Monday, March 4 for the Star Class. Racing for the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640 and Flying Tiger 7.5 classes starts Thursday, March 7. The Star fleet will compete in a single daily race of proper endurance racing, which is the traditional format that the more than 100-year-old class dictates and exactly what the sailors relish. The other four fleets will sail 8 races scheduled across three days.

Teams from across the U.S. will be joined in every class by an international line-up of 23 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Ukraine.

The 2019 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta has a recording-breaking 166 entries, with more than 500 sailors attending. World champions, Olympians and America’s Cup legends will be on the starting line. The most shining one will traditionally be the Star Class, with the many heroes that still competitively race in it and sport the Gold star on their main sail for winning at least one Star World Championship. We are excited to have competitors include the very eclectic Paul Cayard (USA), who has been sailing Stars for 40 years alongside his successful career in the America’s Cup and big yacht racing; Xavier Rohart (FRA), the Bronze Olympic medalist in the class in Athens; Lars Grael (BRA), a two times Bronze Olympic medalist in the Tornado class; and Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), the Gold and Bronze winner at the Olympics in Atlanta and Athens in the Finn class.

Amongst those targeting victory in the J70 fleet is Brian Keane (USA), who has raced the J/70 since the start; Vincenzo Onorato (ITA), who holds World titles in the Farr 40 and M32; Will Welles (USA) who is at the top of the leader board at just about every major J/24 regatta and Joel Ronning (USA) who finished first in the 2016 J/70 World Championships held in the San Francisco Bay.

A robust Melges 24 fleet of 26 entries are present in Miami to kick-off the U.S. class’ 2019 National Ranking Series, an eight-part regatta circuit that spans the North American continent. Returning to the impeccable Biscayne Bay racing stage is current Winter Series overall ranking leader Bruce Ayres (USA), and Megan Ratliff (USA) who is in charge of the Corinthian division. Other major players include 2013 World Champion and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Brian Porter (USA), Travis Weisleder (USA) and KC Shannon’s (USA).

In the Viper 640 Fleet, we are welcoming back Steve Chapman (CAN) – Viper Class North American President, Geoff Fargo (USA) - West Cost Class President, Anthony O’Leary (IRL) and Mary and Jeff Eweson (USA). The Gulf Performance Sailing Foundation, a 501(c)3 from Gulfport, LA, with the purpose to promote sailing, will be sailing with all-junior crews.

The Flying Tiger Class will provide a “hassle free” regatta experience on fully rigged- and ready-to-sail boats, offering a three-day North-U Clinic where competitors can master their skills on the water.

Both Star and J/70 reigning champions will participate at the 2019 event: Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) will try to replicate their success in the huge Star fleet of almost 70 boats. Joel Ronning (USA), with his Catapult team, will try to be the fastest in the J/70 40-teams fleet.

Full results are available here

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The Star keelboat is a 6.9 metres (23 ft) one-design racing keelboat for two people designed by Francis Sweisguth in 1910.

The Star was an Olympic keelboat class from 1932 through to 2012, the last year keelboats appeared at the Summer Olympics at which Ireland's representatives were Peter O'Leary and David Burrows.

Ireland has performed well in the class internationally thanks to some Olympic campaigns including a bronze medal at the Star World Championships in 2000, won by Mark Mansfield and David O'Brien.

The boat is sloop-rigged, with a mainsail larger in proportional size than any other boat of its length. Unlike most modern racing boats, it does not use a spinnaker when sailing downwind. Instead, when running downwind a whisker pole is used to hold the jib out to windward for correct wind flow.

Early Stars were built from wood, but modern boats are of fibreglass and carbon construction.

The boat must weigh at least 671 kg (1,479 lb) with a maximum total sail area of 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft).

The Star class pioneered an unusual circular boom vang track, which allows the vang to effectively hold the boom down even when the boom is turned far outboard on a downwind run.

Another notable aspect of Star sailing is the extreme hiking position adopted by the crew and at times the helmsman, who normally use a harness to help hang low off the windward side of the boat with only their lower legs inside.

At A Glance – Star Specifications

Designer Francis Sweisguth
Year 1910
Crew 2 (Skipper + Crew)
S + 1.5 C ≤ 250 kg (550 lb)[1]
Draft 1.016 m (3 ft 4 in)
Hull Type keelboat
Hull weight ≥ 671 kg (1,479 lb)
(including keel)
LOA 6.922 m (22 ft 9 in)
LWL 4.724 m (15 ft 6 in)
Beam 1.734 m (5 ft 8 in) at deck
1.372 m (4 ft 6 in) at chine
Hull appendages
Keel/board type bulb keel
401.5 ± 7 kg (885 ± 15 lb)
Rig
Rig type sloop
Mast length 9.652 m (31 ft 8 in)
Sails
Mainsail area 20.5 m2 (221 sq ft)
Jib/genoa area  6.0 m2 (65 sq ft)
Upwind sail area ≤ 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft)

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